Open Carried at Lobby Day 2012

General Assembly Building

In January 2012 I had the opportunity to go to Richmond for Lobby Day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As I’ve blogged about previously, this is an important event to meet with the legislators and let them know what we think about certain bills up coming.

Honestly, I am the type of person who becomes frustrated with a lot of political talk; I don’t really feel like it accomplishes anything. However, it is incredible to meet with my local delegates and tell them that I like certain bills or don’t. It provides the opportunity to actively be involved in the political process.

Lobby Day is special because it is a day designed specifically for any of the lobbying groups to meet with their state legislators. It is also possible to meet otherwise but then you’d have to schedule an appointment. Usually, on this day they try to make themselves available, though they are often in other meetings as well. According to the rules of the General Assembly, someone who has a concealed carry permit can carry their firearm either concealed or opened. Being able to display our gun ownership as something normal helps to solidify our impact as a gun lobby group.

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In Virginia this political action is best organized by VCDL, Virginia’s Citizen Defense League. They are a really great organization and more effective than the NRA for helping to produce and pass pro gun legislation.

One of the neatest moments this past year was our lucky timing of one meeting. Visiting our different legislators we decided to visit one politician; he already had a scheduled appointment with Philip Van Cleave the president of VCDL, so they ushered us into the meeting with them. It was incredible to watch them talk like peers (the way that government should be) about the importance of Virginia’s citizens being able to protect themselves!

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Other fun aspects are being asked to have a picture taken since my Glock 19 has a pink hogue grip on it. I stand out not only because of my pink firearm, but also because I’m usually one of the few females in the crowd.

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If you are sick of the political “talk” and want to something more active, then you should really come to Lobby Day in Richmond in 2013. It is always on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and is an excellent way to make your voice heard. According to the facebook invite on the 21st of January the event takes place between 8:30 am-noon, but it could last longer. Generally, everyone meets out in the yard and splits into small groups. The first few morning hours are spent meeting with the legislators, and then around 11 or noon there is a giant rally in the square. Afterwards, we usually grab lunch, and may return to the General Assembly meeting if there were any people that we missed meeting with.

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I would definitely encourage you to come to visit your representatives in person to let them know how serious you are about your rights! This is especially important with firearms bans that are being talked about.

 

 

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Solved the Gun Massacre Problem

This post originates from a random tweet that I came across a few mornings ago from a twitter account about Italy (followed because I miss Italy and like to stay updated about it!)

Because I have become so educated about these types of arguments, and they’ve become common place in my life…I actually decided to respond. This was probably not the wisest decision of my life, as arguments on the internet rarely amount to good. I, at least, always tend to get involved in them with people who don’t really care about listening to your side of the debate and throw it in your face. :-/

This back and forth on twitter quickly degenerated to:

At that point I was beyond frustrated, but realized that pointlessness of that specific conversation. It was difficult that this person decided to push this terrible tragic problem back in my face when I was already proposing a solution, reminding me that precious young lives were taken unfairly.

So, that person wanted me to provide solutions? Well, here they are, here are my individual personal solutions for America’s Gun Massacre problem. This problem is so widespread that it often feels like a single person cannot make a dent in such tragedies. However, this is my attempt.

1. Pray. I will pray for those families, for that community. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain that they are suffering through right now. Likely, those parents were probably having a busy morning, just trying to rush to get their children to school or to the bus stop, and had no idea those rushed moments may have been their last with their kindergartner. It breaks my heart. I pray for all of the parents who have to explain to their children that such evil exists in the world, and to try to learn how to make them feel safe and secure again.

2. Understand that evil will always exist in the world. Unfortunately evil is in the world because humans sinned. Our world is broken, and the human heart has a propensity towards awful things. I will pray that God can bring more people to Himself, and change those hearts. I will live my life as a witness to Him, sharing His hope and salvation everywhere that I go, in as many of my actions as possible. Unless we deal with the root issues about the desire of violence and destruction anyone can use any tool to hurt anyone else.

3. Learn about mental health. I am specifically gaining an education to be able to help those who are stressed, distressed, or mentally ill in this world. However, we can all do our part. We can reach out to those around us, to create fewer alone people. Also, we can make mental health check ups and counseling seen as a normal process. If it were less stigmatized I think that more people would go to counseling and get help. I would also weep with those who weep. Those people affected by this tragedy don’t need to hear your words, or how “you know” how it feels, because you don’t. Unless in that specific situation we’ll never completely feel or understand their pain. When those around us are in a crisis we need to shut up and simply be with them, let them know that they’re not alone, and allow them the freedom to grieve at their own pace.

4. Point out logical fallacies. Unfortunately  we tend to not care about issues as much until they are personal or tangible to us. Therefore, the prime time to discuss this and make decisions about how to prevent such tragedies in the future is when such tragedies have just occurred. It is important that this be attempted as sensitively as possible, but is necessary for us to process this tragedy in our action oriented minds to progress towards prevention in the future. This includes: awakening people to the evils of the millions of abortions in this world, as well as the fact that our government uses drones overseas and destroys school houses filled with innocent children. To be logically consistent we need to believe that all life is precious and sanctified and work to protect it.

5. Protect one’s self from evil. Personally, my husband and I (and several of our friends) means that we’ve decided to carry a firearm daily in order to protect our lives, our future children, or others around us from such terrible acts of violence. I pray to God to never have to be in a situation to use my firearm, but have that tool in order to protect against the inevitable evil in the world. Much like Christian author and missionary Charl Van Wyk who was sitting in a church service in South Africa, and was able to defend his congregation against a terrorist attack, minimizing the effects of the terrible shooting. His accounts are recorded in an excellent book entitled Shooting Back: The Right and Duty to Self Defense. I would highly recommend it, and book review is located on my book blog!

6. Train yourself to be able to defend yourself in such horrific situations. Its not enough simply to own a gun or defensive tool (like martial arts, a baseball bat, a knife, or pepper spray) you need to know and feel comfortable enough to use it if necessary. One way that I train is to participate in local gun club competitions that simulate real life situations. International Defensive Pistol Association is a great example and you can read more about my experiences with that.

7. Get involved in local politics to defend your right to defend yourself. Sadly, after these debates instead of focusing on the the tragedy, it is used to highlight agendas citing that handguns equal violence and we should remove them all. However, logical fallacy again…those who were ruthlessly murdered were in a “safe” gun free zone. I really hope this is the last brutal massacre that we need to convince us that our current laws and restrictions aren’t working about guns. When citizens do not have access to guns, criminals, and mentally ill people know that they will not be unhindered in their cruelty. Some of the ways that I work to protect my legal defense rights are to participate with Virginia Citizen Defense League. It is a wonderful organization that works to show the state legislature how the gun owning community feels and represents us well. One of their main events is to head to Richmond for Lobby Day. Here we meet with our representatives while openly carrying our legally held firearms and discuss the policy that is being proposed for the next session.  Previous to that experience I’ve always hated politics believe it to be an inefficient process. However, meeting with my state representatives gave me a way to be actively involved in the process.

Specifically, what I would love to see happen is a law passed that enabled teachers and administration to be able to legally carry concealed weapons within a school. This would not prevent tragedy, but at least would offer some level of defense against such an event. One day I’ll be a parent, and right now I would have a hard time wanting to sent my child to a school outside of my own home, simply for their safety. Interestingly enough, these massacres are not only a US problem, but killing sprees are happening all over the world. I just discovered this article from 2009 about a recent mass shooting in a school in Germany following other such massacres in 2002, and 2006. This article shared the fact that teachers in Israel have been carrying weapons since the 1970’s and that in 2004 Thailand adopted a policy that allowed teachers to be issued firearm licenses if they desired. The article quotes:

The report stated that though Thailand’s government was extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it recognized that teachers ought to be in a position to safeguard themselves and their students.

Even more recently the Virginia Governor and a former NYPD police detective are advocating teachers and administration be allowed to carry read further here, and here respectively.

8. Remind yourself that there is good in the world and appreciate life. Reports of this nature are devastating even for those not affected by the tragedy. Twitter and Facebook are filled with comments from parents of young children who were unable to sleep well. I think to work through this besides what I’ve listed above, it is important to enjoy life and to realize anew how much each moment is a gift. We are not guaranteed one more second on this earth. Therefore, hug your children close to you, spend time with friends and loved ones, reach out to those around you. Be kind to those in need, and “Pay it forward”. Live out your faith, and share His perfect love.